work-horse etiquette

1. drinking water
in open jar
one quart at a time

2. hiv/aids activist protests in capetown
i learn
how much power
bright colors and movement and song
can bring to
acts of resistance

3. more work-horse etiquette
more often

4. hum of ceiling fan
inviting me into sleep
wind chasing itself

5. tears in eyes:
in movie theater dark
under sun on bike
in work bathroom mirror

6. bike bouquet and note
you could not have been
more perfectly timed

7. broken:
waterglass in dining area
she apologizes
i tell her it happens all the

8. broken:
white ceramic plates
falling to concrete
in dish pit
fabulous sound
fabulous slow-motion descent

9. black sports bra
whitepink jean skirt
bare feet

10. my mother of millions
plant of fear
sharing garden plot
with the endless pit of need

11. goat gouda
on rice crackers

12. moon
soft haze of light
under cloud spread thin

threading the shape of wings



1. following the wide river
that welcomed us home
from halfway across the country

2. cutting sleeves
and stitching
maroon on mint green
threading the shape of an ekg/seismegraph reading
threading the shape of wings

3. out of the following choices:
more difficult
we choose the latter

4. pool of the winds
corinne swims the crashing cold
if it doesn’t kill me
i have to go in

5. how the wind sounds
through trees
2100 feet up
a blessing

6. (hi minna)

7. dust of dry forest
on scraped leg
under nails

8. yellow toothpick umbrella
in fresh squeezed mint lemonade
back porch
half moon
thin maroon tshirt
gathered in fist

9. hugging myself
as the view spills open
breath comes from some place
below me

10. how crashing water
from far away
moves so white and slow






remembering poprock kisses

1. stevie wonder
signed sealed delivered
i’m yours
makes the kitchen
a better place

2. knife in hand
reducing purple cabbage
to ribbons

3. the pause between
mistake of blade on skin
actual rise of blood to surface

4. remembering poprock kisses
amongst the birds of paradise
awoken by sunday morning church in the pavillion

5. shannon, amelia, trillium
a toast to the great
emotional passage
the image:
a watercolor boat

6. soaping off
thin film
of grease
plastic black comb
through shower-wet hair

7. shannon, lauren, naomi
in the car outside
a kind of homecoming
arms i didn’t know
i was longing
to fall into
i didn’t know
i was aching to release

8. cold hand
on strong small neck
a taste
of cool water rushing

9. u people
queer documentary film project
my heart a firework
my brain firing synpases
chest cavity swelling
implosion of joy

10. first dinner: cucumber
second dinner: salad on rice
third dinner: sushi and seaweed

11. holes cut into memory
old neighborhood
though i no longer
these streets

12. walter
the sometimes snoring boston terrier
in my bed

stutters in the orchestration of time

1. morning dream
inside the arms of my hug
ridge of spine rising up through coat
underneath my palm
sunglasses covering eyes

2. is it true
i go most of the day
without eating?

3. i’m convinced that our dishwasher servicers
have all been hired
from the 1950’s.
that milk-man smile.
a cheer that seems so ironic
i inspect it closely for frays.
but still, i am pulled in.

4. punched-in at 8:04.
besides my coconut water
in the reach-in
and matthew’s purple fedora
and jon’s joke about burning man
there is no poetry here

5. tears in david’s eyes
at the counter
as he talks about
volunteering at an animal rescue in south america.
how the chimp
with hands so much like ours
after days of ambivalence
sits in his lap
and how days after that
the chimp sits in his lap
grabs his human hand
and holds it to her soft chimp belly.
how hard it was to say goodbye after a month.
tears in my eyes too.

6. stutters in the orchestration of time
i must go at this alone

7. muddy fingers on lady ferns
sorrel leaves sweetsour in my mouth
lungs full of spring tender green forest
ears carrying the roar
of water so fast it runs white

8. cupped hands
drinking cold snow melt
believing that it is clean

9. dropping loose leaf
into the wet rush
249 feet up
we stand at the edge
our words
pulled out of our mouths

10. my skin tells me
this is what the air felt like
when minna died

11. accompanied by four-day-old moon
we walk out
through the deepening dark
it feels good
to trust the ground beneath me to translate
what my eyes can’t see

clyde the glitterhorse

1. hot pink spray paint dashes
along dirty sidewalk

2. ‘every kid is a writer’
bumper sticker
near southeast 28th and ankeny

3. reunited with clyde the glitterhorse
next time, little machine, we’ll get you new chain rings

4. all about love
by bell hooks
this woman is
an empathetic brilliant genius of relevant discourse

5. day hollowed out
with waiting

6. full bus
two teenage girls
texting each other
across the aisle
separated by the density
of limbs and bodies

7. morning dream
the subterranean work
my short sharp nails across your chest
the ache in your shoulder and neck

8. shannon’s rooftop
pre-sunset light
illuminating our legs

9.  thinnest slice of moon
edges blurred
no longer hanging in sky
on the ride home

10. free hugs
if this doesn’t make you cry
just a little bit
i’m not sure what will

with poems in my hands

1. ‘rose’ and ‘franciszka’
written into sign-up slots
with red ink

2. feeding the secret life of plants
to metal book return
like envelopes into a mailbox
a secret joy
not unlike the moment
amelie sinks her slender fingers
deep into buckets of dried beans
at the street market

3. sitting back on sidewalk bench
with poems in my hands
baby parade
stroller-rolling past

4. thick smell of fresh-laid asphalt
flat black
dashes yet to be painted
back into
the middle of the street

5. friend calling out
forming heart shape
with fingers
from passenger seat
i blow a kiss back
unable to tell
through the sunglare
who it was

6. hot burn of moxa
on front porch steps
held over corinne’s shoulder
next to the imaginary bird

7. hummingbird in flight
hummingbird in stillness

8. freckled shoulders
sore wrist
four postcards
black roller ink pen

9. sweat surfacing
if i had to describe
the smell of salt
i would press your nose
to my neck
upper lip

10.  alaska in winter
noah tells me i must listen
i am summoned into sound

11. i am all skin
awkward and muscled
ribbed and soft
blanket laid out beneath me
20 minutes of radiant heat
2 minutes of coldshock shower
thunder thud of heart in chest and knees
stars blooming above

digital graffiti heart

1. four glasses of water before noon

2. black apron white with flour
kitchen clogs shiny with grease

3. roasting hazelnuts
chopping potatoes
rolling out biscuits:
(24 cups flour
1/3 cup baking soda
4 1/2 TB salt
40 ounces margarine
6 cups soymilk
4 cups water)
baking off tofu
cubing baked tofu
defrosting and slicing tempeh
mixing marinade:
(4 cups soy sauce
2 cups maple syrup
1 cup liquid smoke
1 cup water
2 TB black pepper)
cutting rind off watermelon, scooping seeds from cantaloupe
whisking corn cake batter
shredding vegan cheese (it melts!)
slicing roasted red peppers
cooking black and white quinoa:
(4 cups grain
8 cups water)
spinning lettuce for salad
cutting carrots and red cabbage into ribbons
chopping onions and cilantro for salsa
cracking bowlfuls of eggs
slicing orange wedges that most folks will leave on their plates
chopping cilantro for garnish on the fly

4. go-go’s on the stereo
not pop
but punk

5. lainy’s new cursive text tattoo
inside right bicep

6. digital graffiti  heart
scratched into woodgrain

7. sharing water
and coconut lotion
with natalie
before we cry

8. conference on couch
notes taken
peanut sauce, rice noodles, vegetable explosion

9. molly in garden hose mist
celebrating her inner five year old

10. corinne’s basil starts
inside plastic cup fortresses

11. smell of tomato plants
as i lower them
into deep earth

12. dirt under short fingernails

13 the way water
passes through sun
liquid gold
in corrine’s hands

14. apples for the pony

15. the joy in my body
anticipating morning
chest open
facing sun

a sunset shade of gorgeous

1. those of us who work with words
sometimes do so
in order to
write justice
back into our lives

2. drops of water landing on
bare chest
one at a time
hitting skin
then rolling down
quiet blessing after quiet blessing

3. co-worker
blinking back tears
outside the walk-in
because i destroyed something he made
it feels like a grade school playground moment
have i become this volatile?

4. grass blades
tight between thumbs
it’s contagious
a whistling squeaking chorus
while the orange sky
turns our faces
a sunset shade of gorgeous

5. 125 pounds of potatoes
sliced in french-fry cutter
starchy tedium

6. joanna’s stories
corinne’s hurt shoulder
my tired body
atop the heartbeet
curled up

7. burning sage with borrowed matches
no words
for how hungry i am for it
no words
for how deeply i feel it
reach into me
to pull
what no longer serves me

8. white speckle-color pointy-hooded sweatshirt
tight pinkblack jeans

9. warm sun
cool air

10. kids book about a
tough guy sissy cat
calms me
feet back on earth

11. white paint spots
on living room floor

12. hummingbirds
pancakes in the lake
i was there

13. sleeves rolled up
we are flexing our muscles
and digging in
without a blueprint